Judy Watson

a preponderance of aboriginal blood


In Tate Modern

Level 3: A Year in Art: Australia 1992

Level 3: A Year in Art: Australia 1992
Judy Watson born 1959
16 etchings on paper
Support, each: 415 × 305 mm (nos. 1-5 and 8-16)
support, each: 305 × 415 mm (nos. 6-7)
frame, each: 488 × 375 × 30 mm (nos. 1-5 and 8-16)
frame, each: 375 × 488 × 30 mm (nos. 6-7)
Tate and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, with support from the Qantas Foundation 2015, purchased 2016

Display caption

These etchings are pages from an artist’s book confronting the history of official discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Its sheets include copies of electoral registration forms from the Queensland State Archives. These classified people according to race. Unless they had a white parent, Aboriginal people were not entitled to vote in Queensland until 1965. For Watson, the ‘beautiful and old fashioned’ aesthetic of the archival documents cannot be separated from their ‘horrible content’, designed to deny Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the civil rights extended to the rest of the population.

Gallery label, July 2021

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